Current status of experimental models for the study of malaria

Simwela, N. V. and Waters, A. P. (2022) Current status of experimental models for the study of malaria. Parasitology, 149(6), pp. 729-750. (doi: 10.1017/S0031182021002134) (PMID:35357277)

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Abstract

Infection by malaria parasites (Plasmodium spp.) remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality, especially in tropical regions of the world. Despite the availability of malaria control tools such as integrated vector management and effective therapeutics, these measures have been continuously undermined by the emergence of vector resistance to insecticides or parasite resistance to frontline antimalarial drugs. Whilst the recent pilot implementation of the RTS,S malaria vaccine is indeed a remarkable feat, highly effective vaccines against malaria remain elusive. The barriers to effective vaccines result from the complexity of both the malaria parasite lifecycle and the parasite as an organism itself with consequent major gaps in our understanding of their biology. Historically and due to the practical and ethical difficulties of working with human malaria infections, research into malaria parasite biology has been extensively facilitated by animal models. Animals have been used to study disease pathogenesis, host immune responses and their (dys)regulation and further disease processes such as transmission. Moreover, animal models remain at the forefront of pre-clinical evaluations of antimalarial drugs (drug efficacy, mode of action, mode of resistance) and vaccines. In this review, we discuss commonly used animal models of malaria, the parasite species used and their advantages and limitations which hinder their extrapolation to actual human disease. We also place into this context the most recent developments such as organoid technologies and humanized mice

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:N. V. S. was a Commonwealth Doctoral Scholar (MWCS-2017-789), funded by the UK government. A. P. W. is funded by the Wellcome Trust (083811/Z/07/Z, 107046/Z/15/Z, 104111/Z/14/Z).
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Waters, Professor Andy
Authors: Simwela, N. V., and Waters, A. P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:Parasitology
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0031-1820
ISSN (Online):1469-8161
Published Online:21 February 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in Parasitology 149(6): 729-750
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
172459Gene expression in Plasmodium parasites: the molecular mechanics of gametocytogenesis (and variant transcription of genes)Andrew WatersWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)107046/Z/15/ZIII - Parasitology